Remembering to observe, trust, and respect.

Well, I must confess, I had started out a few days ago with a pretty clear vision in my head of how this particular post would look and how it could be titled- ‘Halloween Den’. ‘Halloween Activities at Home’. ‘More Halloween Discovery’ ?

Little Moo was once again showing a lot of interest in Halloween. So we set out to make a ‘Halloween den’. We dug what was left of last year’s loot out of the garage, and picked up a few new spooky finds on a trip to the shops.
We cleared a corner of the playroom ready for the den.
In my mind I envisioned making a den with the black spider web table cloth, which I had intentionally bought for that very purpose. I imagined providing various areas of interest and invitations to play, such as messy play, mark making, number recognition etc.
I had a plan all set out in my mind, UNTIL…

Moo began to PLAY.

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As she sat surrounded by the Halloween goodies, Moo began to group and count the toys…

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I sat watching her play independently like this for over 20 minutes.

And Moo had her own ideas for the black spider table cloth…

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This made me stop and think.
Does Moo really need/want me to make a den with my own pre planned areas of discovery and learning? What if I just left the toys for her to investigate for herself? What does Moo want from her Halloween play?

So I left my intervention as simply this- a single invitation to play, the Halloween items and toys on the playroom table and some on the floor. Then I stepped back and watched & facilitated while Moo played. And what an exciting, diverse afternoon of play this led to!

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After counting, Moo turned her attention to the packets of Halloween confetti, she asked me to open them and poured them in to the partitioned tray, along with some of the tools and scoops from her investigation box,

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and began to arrange the confetti onto a piece of A4 felt.

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And then on to plates for our lunch,

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After our spooky lunch, Little Moo asked if she could have the ‘spready glue’.

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Then came the request for paint…

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Which turned into a colour mixing discovery!

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During the post-paint clean up, Moo discovered that her toy frog had been splashed with some red paint, this led to a spot of role play as ‘Doctor Moo’ proceeded to take care of frog’s bleeding foot! 

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Whilst frog was in recovery, Moo’s attention returned to the Halloween goodies, particularly the pumpkins which she wanted to move to her market stall. This provided an opportunity for Moo to show off her strength. “I can carry it all by my own, mummy.”

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I asked her if there was anything else she needed or would like to add to the room. She asked for a bed and some playdouh, so we set to work…

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Moo proudly showed me how she had added one matching coloured button to each ball of the newly made playdouh. She solved the problem of not having any orange buttons to match the orange playdouh, by choosing a closely matching yellow button-

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Then continued to add confetti, buttons and acorn cups before asking for my help in removing them all with the tweezers, another tricky task mastered!

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By throwing away my own preconceived plans and allowing Moo to take the role of chief planner, we went from the possibility of having a small den in the corner of the playroom, to the reality of an entire Moo designed ‘Halloween Room’ full of opportunities and the potential to play for days to come.

In one afternoon, without any pushing from me, Little Moo practiced many skills- counting, problem solving, writing, colour mixing, fine and gross motor, role play, empathy, communication, cause and effect, to name just a few!

And as it came time for Little Moo to go up to bed after a very busy, exciting, creatively spooky day. I sat and began to think about writing this post.

Looking back over the pictures I had taken and the ‘Moo-quotes’ I had scribbled down, I soon realised that this was no longer going to be a post about Halloween dens or Halloween themed activity ideas, but rather a post, or diary of Little Moo’s self led journey of play, discovery, creativity, and learning.

And most importantly the experience has reinforced the importance for me as mummy/facilitator/teacher/guide/play mate, to remember to pause, step back, observe, trust, and respect Little Moo’s instinctive ability to take responsibility for her own play, learning and discovery 🙂 

Thank you for visiting!
Happy playing, and happy Halloween!
From Me, Moo, and froggy too! 🙂

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Posted by Cheryl

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